Weather-Related Truck Accidents
Florida does not get the blankets of snow that make northern roads so treacherous during the cold winter months, but that does not mean we are immune to weather conditions that make driving hazardous. Particularly for drivers of semi trucks, 18 wheelers, and other big rigs, even conditions such as heavy winds, rain, or fog can make it harder to navigate and increase the risk for truck accidents and injuries. When sharing the road with truck drivers in this type of weather, it is important to be aware of the risks.
Weather-Related Accidents and Injuries
According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), of the nearly six million motor vehicle accidents that occur on U.S. roads each year, adverse weather conditions are a factor in nearly 25 percent. While it might seem that snow and ice covered roads would be among the most dangerous, the FHWA claims that it is rainy, wet conditions that most often contribute to accidents and injuries.
Weather-related road accidents injure 450,000 people each year while claiming the lives of nearly 6,000 others. More than half of these occurred as the direct result of rainy weather. Driver impacts that can result from even mild downpours include:
- Poor visibility;
- Decreased tire traction;
- Reduced steering and braking ability;
- Poor speed control;
- Increased likelihood of hydroplaning and skidding.
While these impacts can create havoc for regular motorists, they are particularly challenging for truck drivers and increase the odds of severe and potentially life threatening truck accidents and injuries.
How Weather Conditions Impact Commercial Motor Vehicles
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reports that while human error is the most common factor in commercial vehicle accidents, weather and climate conditions significantly increase the risk that a truck accident will occur.
Trucks are bulky in terms of height, length, and width, and can easily weigh 10,000 or more, even when not fully loaded. The type of cargo and the way it is loaded also influences a truck driver’s maneuverability. All of this makes handling a truck challenging in even temperate conditions. Add in rain and slick roads, particularly when traveling at higher speeds on highways and interstates, and the BTS warns that even experienced truck drivers could find themselves losing control of their rig. To protect yourself when sharing the road with a truck driver during wet or rainy weather, follow these tips:
- Avoid tailgating and allow extra room for passing or making turns;
- Avoid driving alongside a truck, which could put you in their blind spot;
- If a truck is following you too closely, change lanes to let them pass;
- Be particularly alert on road curves and at traffic signals, where sudden reduced speeds can increase the likelihood of skidding.
In the event you are involved in a truck accident, contact Gregg Wexler at the Wexler Law Firm, P.A. right away. We can arrange a consultation with our West Palm Beach truck accident attorney who can advise you on how to hold both the truck driver and the trucking company responsible for your damages. To get the professional legal representation you need in these situations, call or contact us online today.